While I have a certain respect for them, beads have never held my interest for long.  There has to be something that sticks with me, something different about them.  When they have that thang, it’s big love.  I’ve been enamored (in awe of…) these ancient African heishi trade beads since I first laid eyes on them a few years back. They were featured on the African Queen in one of our first before/after photo shoots for b &  i.  And after that, I sort of put them aside as I focused on other things…not forgetting them, just admiring them from a (design) distance. They hung from my work light on top of my workbench for a few years, teasing and encouraging me, but never working their way completely in.  (A few pieces, here and there…special necklaces, etc). 

 

african heishi trade beads = the small brass beads in this picture.  This necklace = one of those special old ones, available for sale online

 

It wasn’t until springtime this year when I understood what they were for.   Suddenly, as if from nowhere, I knew exactly what their purpose was and from this first design, they inspired an entirely new line out of me. A collection with immediate architecture and economy of space, fine lines, refined shapes, colors, and ideas---a concept that hasn’t ever quite entered my design headspace.   I have always been inspired and intrigued by native American and African communal and tribal culture filled with song and dance, color and narrative, ensemble and earth, strength and story, history-- all intertwined with the designs that swim around in my head, modern and moving.

Turquoise, matte purple seed beads, heishi chrysoprase, African white hearts, gunmetal, calculated lines and shapes This line is being picked up by the new and old stores carrying b & i and will be available at Crafty Bastards on October 2nd in Washington, DC (that's tomorrow!!!  from 10-5 pm),  but lookout for it online and in our shop within the next month.  (If you’re anxious for some now, just shoot us an email and we’ll hook you up)! Much more of these to come.  I'm so excited. Loving All of IT!  Especially, Friday! xo~ b (Also, look out for the remainder of our road trip posts as it's coming to an end). ***Song of the Moment: Curls, by Girls***

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